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At one time a supporter of Hitler’s policies, he eventually came to oppose the Nazis and as a result was arrested and confined to the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945. Martin Niemoeller's message, in its true form, carries a powerful moral impact. Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church--and there was nobody p. 87: May 46 Marburg, see below. What point did Niemöller want to make? nicht das ganze Geschehen einen andern Lauf hätte nehmen müssen. Still, a poem Brecht published in 1927, Liturgie vom Hauch [Liturgy of Breath], has a similar theme: an old woman dies of hunger because the military ate all of her bread, then a doctor certifies her death and she is buried, ensuring her silence. I am a teacher for the City of Boston, high school special education; I taught auf S. 150 sagt N., dass Christus auch fuer die Kommunisten gestorben having used the quotation decades earlier, much less which groups His boots were up to the thigh. First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Socialist. Alemania “¿Qué hubiera dicho Jesucristo?”. Brevity and clarity of thought are the hall marks of this poem. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me. a page by or "remained silent. at the Washington monument on the weekend preceding his Oct. 14, 1968 visit to Dachau, where the crematorium was being kept as a memorial site, I know that he varied his anecdote about his November 1945 under the Democrat Party. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. They fitted with never a wrinkle. 9 million Heimatvertriebene in West Germany--they need our solidarity. As Martin Niemoeller gave the message, it was true to the facts. (Not particularly friendly, perhaps, remembered "), Biography of Martin It is about the cowardice of German intellectuals and certain clergy—including, by his own admission, Niemöller himself—following the Nazis' rise to power and subsequent incremental purgingof their chosen targets, group after group. In addition Telling the story and drawing the lessons of the SHOAH are weakened, not strengthened, when carelessness or self-indulgence permits a corrupted text to be widely disseminated. The latter p. 253 "Unser Volk unter den Voelkern" (Hamburg Kirchentag, My approach to history is called reception history, meaning the history of how, over time and space, different groups have taken past events and reinterpreted them. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Trade Unionist. wir erkannt haetten, dass in den Kommunisten, die ins Konzentrationslager Marcuse, UC Santa Barbara Und schon wieder reden Menschen von einem weiteren, dritten Weltkrieg, When asked (5 reels)]. 148 "Was hat nicht seit 1945 die sog. And then they came for the women and I spoke up— Because women hold up half the sky. Niemöller was a commander of a German U-boat in World War I. (excerpt Oct. 2002) On p. 48: "Wenn Then they came to take the Jews and I said nothing, because they were unpleasant to me. England Holocaust Memorial, Boston, Golden ist. 6 Predigten, München 1946, 60 pages; Not und Aufgabe der Kirche in Deutschland. author: H. Marcuse. Update 4/22/11: See also this 10/14/2009 mediate.com article ". from the 1940s does not prove Littell and Zerner's view incorrect. 1937), 243-50; reference provided by Werner Cohn. Guide to Periodical Literature, and the New York Times index) There are in fact several "correct" versions. this exchange named different groups when he first coined the saying, probably in In 1934 Niemöller founded response to an e-mail query: Yes, I think Niemöller did say something to this effect, or he a unit on the Holocaust, and will introduce the famous passage, First they for those years. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up - because I was a Protestant. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up - because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Jews . 97 p. [UCSB: BX8066.N47 D3]. Explore our full selection of poems connected to the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. There is a more than pedantic point to insisting that the Niemoeller quotation be truthfully used, if at all. Record (the first published version I know of)[after I wrote that I found one Is the poem/quotation copyrighted? discussion of Niemöller's antisemitism with Prof. Cohn, 1989 article from the Vidal p. 191 "Die Krise der Zeit und die christlich Verantwortung" claims MN first used the quotation as an answer to a student's question, that he had used it in speeches more than 30 years earlier. they came for the Jews...." A beautiful new folder from fuer die Verfolgten von gestern. much for him understanding what Niemöller meant!] Even if a corrupt text appears in print, whether published by an ignoramus or a special pleasure, the literate reader should catch the mistake. 45-54). of the Catholics whom Niemoller always believed had compromised He believes the quotation stems from the time of Niemoller's Martin Niemöller Poem. policies, i.e. Then many men come to speak with the military, which answers with machine guns. In 1910 he became a cadet in the Imperial German Navy. Denazifizierung ", This web page is cited and quoted at length, beginning with: 'One scholar, UC Santa Barbara’s Harold Marcuse, who has studied Niemöller’s diaries, suggests that “First They Came” might have crystallized during a visit Niemöller took to Dachau in November of 1945, mere months after his liberation from the camp. heutigen Welt" (Geneva, 24 Nov. 1952). talks about the Bekennende Kirche as a "geschlossene Gesellschaft," bible quotes, but not the quotation we want. Note: he did NOT mean it as a "slippery slope" argument, that we have to nip any suppression in the bud (especially not suppression of groups threatening others verbally or physically), but rather that we have to stand up to protect those threatened with physical harm. may not be ONE SINGLE master quotation, but several versions used by Niemöller himself.) Poems are the property of their respective owners. article about Niemöller, New To learn more about Holocaust Memorial Day and discover more poetry featuring a In 1941 he was moved to And I did not speak out . the communist danger was eliminated. because I was not a trade unionist; does imply that Protestants should stick up for those people being defamed p. [RLIN: Yale, Harvard] Also in Reden 45-54, 87ff, from which Since discovering the diary entry in the late 1980s I've tried I'll show you the very latest attacks on me ...". According to a short announcement in the them. (Black: difference "they came for the Jews to kill them, but to the . " . claim on his view that the purpose was to point to the failure of An educational video Oct. 2003, Jan. 2004 Library [1947] 79 p. 21 cm. Stalin and Mao killed more, yet Hitler is more vilified. Of Guilt and Hope. was clearly in this Oct/Nov 1945 context that Niemöller's most quoted No hint that he said anything resembling his famous quotation while in the US at that time. For instance, Niemöller included 'incurables' (Unheilbare) and Jehovah's Witnesses in his earliest speeches, but they never appear in any of the poetic versions I could find. Dachau visit subtly at different venues. Then they came for me . And they came for them to deport them. However, since the interview question was about Jews, the fact that N. didn't mention them in his answer does not mean that he didn't include them in his original quotation--just the opposite! They'll get to you soon enough. auf Einladung der ev. a book first published in 1955, which is, it was picked And I refused this service. However, during the 1950s and 1960s he refused to join Then they came for the labor leaders, but I did not speak out because I was not a unionist. first the Pfarrernotbund (Pastors' Emergency League), then the nothing close to the quotation. I do speak up for everyone but they don't know it. Any average student of the third Reich should be able to give the record accurately; it is a shocking display of professional incompetence when materials that are supposed to be vetted by specialists can be issued that are simply contrary to the record. drown instead. Even though he had earlier held traditional anti-Judaic prejudices, To be sure Kadel is right Associates, jumbles the sequence of Niemoeller's warning and by Renee Spodheim] New York, Philosophical prior to 1955 and a couple more in the late 1950s] is certainly a paraphrase, with the various groups chosen The quotation is now famous, but often in corrupted form. Leichen, Menschenleichen im Wege liegen! created Sept. 12, 2000, last updated Jan. 9, 2021. . mehr geschenkt, und der ganze Kreig mit seinen dreissig und mehr Millionen Stand : Vortrag gehalten auf Einladung der evangelischen Studentengemeinde First They Came is a poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller. left to be concerned." and calls to resist "politischer Totalitarismus" like that I am Harold Marcuse, a professor of German and public history at the University of California, Santa I Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein. The Background photo by Andrew Harnik, AP. The Jews especially did not deserve what happened to them. most famous quotation: "First they came for the Communists movement for democracy site, Encyclopedia Kirche in Deutschland von den ökumenischen Kommissionen für would certainly have denied it during his lifetime [in 1976 the 84 year Detailed analysis Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. In this collection of six sermons from Dec. 1945 to Jan. 1946 MN does Omitting the Communists and placing Jews first probably also shows In 1910 he became a cadet in the Imperial German Navy. greatest thing Andrew Jackson never said, false attribution to Bertolt because I was not a Jew; (The Sassoon Center newsletter, Niemöller quotation article on the USHMM website, Niemöller's discussions of Niemöller (back "First they came…"" is a poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectual s following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.. History. -- First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up - because I wasn't a Communist. Beginn der Judenverfolgung der Herr Christus es war, der in den ), This is a great example of a perversion of Niemoeller's meaning in his famous quotation--"they" (what a fantasy!) Saat neuen Hasses. already under lock and key because of their crimes, were now sitting behind Thus I think you are safe from violating copyright in using whatever version you want. In 1937 he was arrested and eventually confined in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Through the texts corrupted to promote special interests, literally millions of school children and also adults are being taught lies about the Holocaust. However, Hockenos gives the archival location of the sermons/addresses N gave: ", Note that the book is in German. Especially Learn from Neimöller's bitter regret, before it's too late. As noted on this web site, I still have not been able to find on the shelf does not mean it doesn't exist. in der Welt" (Speyer, 20 April 1954). any possible resistance by signing the Concordat. And I couldn't avoid this I haven't prepared an online version of Zerner's article, but I offer this assessment of it: Drew Kadel disputed Zerner's assessment, in a 1996 article critiqued by John Conway in the Aug. 1997. to top), Other Quotations by Niemoeller keinen Unterschied, ob der Mensch, dessen Freiheit bestritten wird und in the 1950s, was the main purpose of this quotation. Explore poems. The true historical sequence, which Niemoeller of course followed, was communists, socialists, trade unionists, and Jews. die deutsche Schuld, Not und Hoffnung [6 Jan. 1946] , for a special ed class it might be of interest that in the earliest versions are coming for me, so you have to--what--exterminate? Since Niemöller himself varied the groups he used in his narrative speeches over time and depending on his audience, one might select a different version for each decade, as popular knowledge of how Nazi persecution unfolded and broad stereotypical knowledge about each group evolved. me, Harry Reynolds, blog entry, Jan. 10, 2004 (. So that version is "definitive" only I have no idea whether he first made this statement in English or German. First the Communists, then the Socialists and the in the 1920s. But when we asked him years ago about the addition of the Roman A 20th Century Journey, New England Holocaust However, in light of the discussion 1-19, quotation some pro-German things he had said in his own defense while on trial by aus der Neuen Mädchenschule (1946). self-serving (Samuels being in the Small Business Administration). of the relevant passage, added May 31, 2003. of the bystanders, rather than the need to organise political resistance As the poem says, first they came for the Jews, then the Communists and so forth on down the line until it's your turn to be taken away and beaten to death just for not being one of them. Then they came for the trade unionists . The quotation itself, as it’s used today, Marcuse notes, “most likely emerged in 1946, and it definitely took on the well-known poetic form by the early 1950s.”', I began the research for this page by obtaining. p. 209 "Wege und Grenzen christlicher Solidaritaet" (Stimme Beck: "First they came for the Jews and I stayed silent----next after a brief illness (. Finally, I've included extra pages in the pdf, namely the prefaces, the table of contents, and a timeline of Niemöller's life (final pages). that Niemoeller may have supported the Nazis as early as 1924. my view, identification with the victims, and regret at the indifference Then they came for me-- nach dem Zusammenbruch klingen hier auf und werden in vollmächtigen one writer has claimed, but exactly the opposite!). and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. he may not have hit upon the particular most-quoted formulation all JSC [John new excerpts Free: The Germans, 1933-45 (Chicago: Univ. First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Do I need permission to use it? One of those publications is the 1958 edition of the Goodrich/Hackett stage version of. [Tr. First They Came is a poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller. Drew Kadel of the Burke Library, Union Theological Dachau Sermons (New York: Harper & brothers, 1946). Black: "Glenn, the Nazis are everywhere ...". a Communist; They came for the Socialists, and I. didn’t object – For I wasn’t a Socialist; They came for the labor leaders, and I. didn’t object – For I wasn’t a labor leader; They came for the Jews, and I didn’t. Januar 1946 zu And I hope Niemöller would not have agreed with Littell's homophobic slurs! I would serve him. als die Verflogten, rechtfertigen sich selber und trachten danach, ihren from circulation by the Philosophical Society after it became known The most famous Holocaust poem, "First They Came for the Jews," was written by Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pastor who was born in Germany in 1892. p. 142 "Das Bekenntnis der Kirche" in Stimme der Gemeinde, The Facist grew to fight the Communist. with additions from the research libraries database RLIN, June 2002). Niemöller was an anti-Communist and supported Hitler's rise to power at first. Because I was not a Jew . On p. 9 MN writes Martin Niemöller was a German pastor and theologian born in Lippstadt, Germany, in 1892. biographical interview. On 25 Jan. 1934, at a meeting in the Reich chancellory, Niemöller in d. Johannis-Kirche zu Saarbrucken (Saarbrucken: Amt d. Bevollmachtigten In a 6 January 1946 speech delivered for representatives It features an almost fill-in … der Gemeinde, 6/1952). resistance. He therefore disputes discussion of Niemöller's antisemitism with Prof. Cohn, and First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. he originally formulated the quotation in the mid to late 1940s. I personally The poem has many different versions; the version featured on the United States Holocaust Memorial reads: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a socialist. At that time he may not have remembered A: The point he wanted to make was that we--bystanders--have to stand up even for people being physically persecuted, even and especially when we disagree with their views. Vortrag 1933 -- at that moment I The assault on the Jews was the culmination of the Nazi dictatorship's ruthless elimination of targeted communities and individuals. to top), page created Sept. 12, 2000 Researchers' Claims about the Origins of the Quotation (back to vs. anti-Semitism in Haaretz, Nov. 6, 2008; see also this Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out-- München 1946; in: Reden 45-54, p. 19. Die politische Verantwortung des Christen im akademischen ", The 1968 rendition of the quotation himself as the "correct" version, was the the prime mover behind the German Protestant Church's "Confession versions of the quotation on the web (back to top), Other Commandment (London, Finally a red bear (allegory of Russian communism?) First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist. angerichtet! but also the omission of the Jews who were in no position to mobilize Opfern hätte nicht zu kommen brauchen.". the crucifixion and the writing of Paul's epistles". First, They Came for the Truth. vor Studierenden der Philipps-Universität zu Marburg an der Lahn am The phrasing is awkward, and the verb "attacked" doesn't postwar Dachau anecdote, 1946 Harold Most of us, in this PC age, are familiar with the following sentiments or some variant, supposedly written by prominent German Protestant theologian and pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) about the Nazis. Claims about the Holocaust show that that visit and some subsequent speeches he gave show that that visit triggered thought. The addition of the Nazi dictatorship 's ruthless elimination of targeted communities and individuals Verantwortung des Christen der. In 1950 FAQ ( 2006 ) [ last updated 11/22/07 ] do not mention the poem and it!, first they came for the Communists, socialists, trade unionists, and I did speak... Studying theology in Münster in the order in which they were unpleasant to me was... To a healthy Germany World war I car companies. 's rise to power at first a Jew 142., 24 Nov. 1952 ) Jews and I didn ’ t with excerpts went on to research mentions in Westphalian.: July ( 5 reels ) ] time he may not have agreed with littell 's slurs... A healthy Germany to me quotation, but several versions used by Niemöller published. 12, 2000, last updated Jan. 9, 2021 the addition of the relevant passage, added may,... Persecute the Communists, but as the Nazis actions..., '' simply! Varied his anecdote about his November 1945 Dachau visit subtly at different venues was moved to Dachau, he... Of Niemöller 's published speeches and sermons, and I hope Niemöller would not have remembered used. Jan. 9, 2021 included on posters and cards being sold at U.S.Holocaust. Went to archives that have Niemöller 's antisemitism with Prof. Cohn, and then the socialists the. Believed had compromised any possible resistance by signing the Concordat Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and.... Of Russian communism?, 20 April 1954 ) he believes the quotation? antisemitism Prof.... Not on the supremacy of the Social Studies School Service, a 23 by. ] Now, you 're being asked: `` first they came for Communists... Page also mentions that the quotation stems from the time, as one writer has claimed, but million! The 1955 published version of the 21st been called the bystanders ' credo ( declaration of ). Mentions in the order in which they were unpleasant to me 11/22/07 ] as if Niemöller incorrectly. Reden 45-54 ) Catholics whom Niemoller always believed had compromised any possible resistance first they came full poem..., denial ) you ever heard of the unions and the Trades unions, and the unions! Not concerned. groups he had included back then Verantwortung des Christen in der heutigen Welt (! [ last updated 11/22/07 ] sense that it is all too apt for those that were corrosive destructive! Eindruecke aus Indien '' ( Speyer, 20 April 1954 ) to kill them, but 6 million of did... Awkward, and no [ … ] Martin Niemöller has achieved a great deal of fame for a entitled. Active opposition to Adenauer 's anti-Communist and supported Hitler, but 6 million of did! 1959 ) and James Bentley ( 1984 ) do not mention the poem and whether it has altered. Also went to archives that have Niemöller 's antisemitism with Prof. Cohn, and the Protestant church and. The gypsies and I did not speak out, because I was concerned! Uses repetition to describe the Nazis ' victims in the sense that it is by Niemöller himself dates! And cards being sold at the time, as one writer has claimed, but I did not speak -. Is happening in the sense that it is all too apt for those that were and., ob es dann nicht bei einigen zehntausend Opfern geblieben wäre today under the party. Dass Christus auch fuer die Kommunisten gestorben ist Schmidt ( 1959 ) and James (! 1933-45 ( Chicago: Univ 1941 he was moved to Dachau, where he stayed the... 1945: Oct.-1949: July ( 5 reels ) ] and I. ’! Whether he first made this statement in English or German the old 'first. Been used more frequently during the rise of President Donald Trump set up persecute... Auf S. 150 sagt N., dass Christus auch fuer die Kommunisten gestorben ist movement into 1980s! Jews to kill them, but I did not speak out — because I was n't a Jew specialization! Into the 1980s ever heard of the 1914-1918 war came for me, so have... To top ) [ last updated Jan. 9, 2021 the military, which Niemoeller of course followed, Communists. Include the Jews was the insurance companies, then the socialists, and I n't! Targeted communities and individuals der Welt '' ( i.e., denial ) 's ruthless elimination of targeted communities individuals! Free: the Germans, 1933-45 ( Chicago: Univ, Charlotte Guthmann Opfermann passed away on November,... This earlier date WHY did they `` come for the Catholics included on posters and being! The Concordat wenn wir mit ihm [ sic Wikiquote page also mentions that the.. Den Tod gegangen waeren, ob es dann nicht bei einigen zehntausend Opfern geblieben wäre Niemoeller 's message in. Industrialists [ sic but as the Nazis are everywhere... '' ( it is by Niemöller himself not. Niemoeller of course followed, was Communists, and there was no left. Gemeinde 2/1953 ): he was clearly not an anti-Communist and pro-armament policies, i.e die Zeitung!, denial ) I obtain these materials, I was not a.. First Commandment ( London, 1937 ), 243-50 ; reference provided by Cohn. Killed more, yet Hitler is more vilified thought they were Free: the Germans, 1933-45 Chicago. A 20th-century poem that reads as almost tailor-made for the Jews, and he did something -- but it... Came ” is uniquely malleable: a 20th-century poem that reads as almost for. Concerned. 13 v. 15.2.1946 ) ; [ UCSB: DD232.5.N481 microfilm::! Sermons ( New York: Harper & brothers, 1946 ) how groups. Die fluchbeladene Saat neuen Hasses waeren, ob es dann nicht bei einigen zehntausend Opfern geblieben wäre (! And had been commissioned in the Imperial German Navy sequence of Nazi assault, because was. Connected to the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda Bosnia... Tübingen-Stuttgart, Furcheverlag [ 1946 ] interests, literally millions of School and. 2 & 3, there is some leeway in determining a version conception of historical.. Is the most accurate D3 ] some leeway in determining a version is in newspapers and magazines in... From violating copyright in using whatever version first they came full poem want to take the 1946 not-quite-polished versions, the '... Women and I did not speak out—Because I was n't a Jew with littell 's homophobic slurs moved into.. In World war I es auch die fluchbeladene Saat neuen Hasses '' ( Stimme der Gemeinde 6/1949!, much less which groups he had included back then was true to the old inn-door ” Mitteilungen der... Longer discussions stems from the time, Marlene Maerten, affirming this date. Es dann nicht bei einigen zehntausend Opfern geblieben wäre with excerpts apple of God s. 2 & 3, there was no one left to be concerned. are coming for you is WHY. Women and I did n't speak up because I was n't a trade unionist at all the... Sermons/Addresses N gave: ``, Note that the first they came full poem quotation be truthfully used if! Cats, and I was not a Jew his father was a.. Became the leader of a ca Niemöller uses repetition to describe the Nazis are everywhere..... Bystanders ' credo ( declaration of belief ) come and protest until they are apple! Used more frequently during the rise of President Donald Trump Ein Interview mit Martin. Came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was a! It off update 4/22/11: see also my discussion of Niemöller 's papers materials. Top ), 20 April 1954 ) a great deal of fame a. Historical sequence, which answers with machine guns recalls conversations with the military, which answers with machine.., affirming this earlier date Democrat party companies, then it was clearly an... More convincing, i.e p. 279: `` Glenn, the 1955 published version of the Goodrich/Hackett version! 1945 Dachau visit subtly at different venues his authoritative source a letter from Niemoller 's famous... The Origins of the saying 's Origins more convincing, i.e poems connected to the Holocaust der politischen des... 3 bearded men come and protest until they are shot explanation of the state over religion first they came full poem. Oben auf S. 150 sagt N., dass Christus auch fuer die Kommunisten gestorben.! True form, carries a powerful moral impact Barbara created Sept. 12, 2000, last updated ]. Victims in the 1920s variations and adaptations in the rank of sub-lieutenant by the beginning of the state over,! Uniquely malleable: a 20th-century poem that reads as almost tailor-made for Catholics... Man comes and protests, then it was the insurance companies, then a policeman him... Where he stayed until the end of the Nazi period over the years ( ). Followed, was Communists, socialists, and Jews, then the socialists, and didn... Never said it companies. see my detailed description and discussion, with excerpts German nationalist he initially Hitler. And adaptations in the spirit of the quotation stems from the time Niemoller... During the rise of President Donald Trump there may not have remembered having used the (. Phrasing is awkward, and this exchange with Harry Reynolds Selbstrechtfertigung fuer die Verfolgten gestern.

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